Home News City set to sizzle, water cuts continue

City set to sizzle, water cuts continue

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The weather forecast for the Province for the next few days is expected to be very hot, especially in the north

HEATWAVE: Jesse Rudman, a Kimberley resident, spent a hot day cooling down at the Karen Muir Swimming Pool yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

CITY residents, who have had to contend with load shedding, are now being warned to brace for sweltering temperatures, while a heatwave hits parts of the country.

The high temperatures are set to place an even heavier strain on the national electricity grid, with Eskom yesterday again implementing load shedding and indications are that this could continue for the next few days.

Eskom stated yesterday that load shedding would be implemented from 9am until 23pm yesterday as a result of a shortage of capacity due to a number of generating units still out of service due to breakdowns.

The power utility stated that load shedding was conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout.

The South African Weather Service yesterday meanwhile issued a severe weather warning of extremely high fire conditions over the eastern and central parts of the Northern Cape.

The weather forecast for the Province for the next few days is expected to be very hot, especially in the north.

Residents can expect temperatures in the high 30s until at least Tuesday, when the thermometer is expected to drop a few degrees to around 33 degrees Celsius.

In Kimberley, the expected maximum for today, tomorrow and Sunday is 36 degrees C.

In Upington the maximum will be even higher with expected temperatures of 36 degrees C predicted for the next few days.

In the Eastern Cape and Central Karoo a heatwave with persistently high temperatures is expected.

Meanwhile, the hot weather has also seen an increase in water consumption in the city. Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the levels of the reservoirs at Newton were stabilising, with three of the four larger dams between 10 and 12 feet. Maximum capacity is 16ft.

“We are happy to report that the levels are stabilising although we need to ensure that they are at maximum capacity.”

He stated that the nightly water shutdowns from Newton would continue for about two or three more weeks.

“We continue to urge residents to use water wisely. Due to the hot weather, the consumption has increased and we do not want to jeopardise the provision of water to the city.”

The DA in the Province said yesterday that the party was also regularly monitoring the reservoir.

“It is concerning to note that the water levels, which should at least be at a steady 16 feet, are battling to rise above just 10 feet. The nightly water shutdown is further only assisting to sustain this inadequate water level, as the recovery of one to two feet that takes place overnight, is again depleted by the afternoon. In effect, there is no improvement in stabilising Kimberley’s water supply,” the DA caucus leader in the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Christopher Phiri, said yesterday.

He pointed out further that of the four dams at the reservoir, one was completely empty.

“Messages that are being sent out by the municipality, claiming that the water levels are ‘steadily increasing’ are thus nothing but a fabrication to appease angry residents,” Phiri stated.

“The truth of the matter is that Sol Plaatje Municipality has still not addressed the matter of debilitating water leaks that, according to the auditor-general, see 50% of Sol Plaatje’s water going to waste. In this regard, Sol Plaatje has not even repaired a water leak at the very entrance to the Newton Reservoir that appears to have been there for a number of years already.”

He further pointed out that the municipality was also not addressing the newly discovered “fresh water dam” on the outskirts of Kimberley near 3SAI. “It is further understood that they are not planning to fix the leaking pipeline causing the dam, until the Newton Reservoir is full.

“It’s a catch-22 situation – how will Newton Reservoir ever reach full capacity if the municipality doesn’t give attention to the many problems diverting water flow away from it?

“It is time for Sol Plaatje to be open about the true scale of the water crisis. Only then will the municipality be in a position to efficiently address the real problems. This is of critical importance, given the noticeable increase in temperatures, not to mention a tourist influx expected over the festive season, which is just around the corner.”

Phiri said that the DA would continue exerting pressure on Sol Plaatje to stop playing the blame game with residents and start taking ownership of its self-inflicted problems.

“The DA further encourages Kimberley residents to regularly fill their water containers and ensure that they have some water stores in place because, contrary to what Sol Plaatje wants you to think, the water situation is not yet stable.”